Finance Secretary announces $2.7 million boost to Rainy Day Fund

OKLAHOMA CITY — The robust Oklahoma economy — generating millions of dollars in increased tax revenues for state government – will lead to another hefty deposit into the Constitutional Reserve (better known as the Rainy Day Fund), officials said Wednesday (August 14).

Secretary of Finance, Administration and Information Technology Preston L. Doerflinger, an optimist when it comes to both the economy and state government performance, translated the latest general revenue fund (GRF) collections as consisting of “Good news on two fronts. We’re still adding to our healthy state savings account and we’re off to a good start in the first month of Fiscal-Year 2014, thanks to continued growth in income tax receipts.”

After the anticipated $2.7 million deposit, the reserve fund will have a $535.2 million balance.

Releasing his monthly analysis of tax receipts subject to appropriation, Secretary Doerflinger said that after reconciliation, Fiscal-Year 2013 general funds totaled just over $5.6 billion.

In July, first month of the new cycle (FY 2014), collections were $209.8 million, a jump of $20.7 million (5.3 percent up over a year ago). That was also $14.3 million (3.6 percent) above the official estimate for the month.  

Doerflinger commented, “July’s collections provide evidence that Oklahoma’s economy remains on solid ground. The rise in corporate income taxes in July comes after a 31.5 percent growth rate from that revenue source last fiscal year. We may be leveling off from the heights of our recovery, but our economy is still strong, still growing and still the envy of most states. Our businesses are thriving and consumer confidence is holding high even in the face of challenges like federal furloughs.”

Doerflinger’s staff predicts revenue collections will continue to grow in the new fiscal year, although “it may not be at the level we’ve seen the past two years.”

Gov. Mary Fallin’s closest financial adviser, Doerflinger said in a statement to Oklahoma Watchdog, “There could be continued gross production tax collection reductions due to energy policy changes made in 2010, plus diversion of $60 million in income taxes for Capitol building repairs. Those dynamics coupled with federal furloughs and ongoing fiscal uncertainty in Washington, D.C. present us with some wild cards. State agencies should continue to keep the belts tight and find efficiencies.”

Last month, Doerflinger discussed possible changes to present oil and gas drilling incentives, including horizontal wells, that sparked critical reaction from industry spokesmen

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